Katja Novitskova’s “Earth Potential” in Kumu courtyard 01/05/2024 – 29/09/2024

Kumu Art Museum

Kumu courtyard

Earth Potential (Cuttlefish Love, Earth), 2017. Courtesy the artist; Temnikova and Kasela, Tallinn; Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler, Berlin

Katja Novitskova’s “Earth Potential” in Kumu courtyard

From May to the end of September, Katja Novitskova‘s (b. 1984) exhibition Earth Potential exploring the relationship of science, technology, fiction and our image-based culture will be exhibited in the Kumu courtyard. The show was originally produced by Public Art Fund, New York and was on view in 2017 in New York’s City Hall Park. It consisted of 7 sculptures and was curated by Emma Enderby. Later, four sculptures were brought to Estonia and displayed in front of the Kai Art Center in Noblessner – these same sculptures have now arrived in the Kumu courtyard.

The four large aluminum sculptures feature digitally-printed images of celestial objects, and enlarged, seemingly alien but nonetheless terrestrial organisms. Sourced by the artist from the Internet, these striking images were originally created through advanced imaging techniques like using microscopes able to magnify an  organism 10,000 times, and a satellite orbiting the Earth. These new sculptures explore worlds unseen by the naked eye by employing photography, scale, and juxtaposition to transform their surroundings into a seemingly Sci-Fi landscape.

The artist has selected and combined these images – which range from Venus and Saturn’s moon to the common earthworm and Hydra – to question the dichotomies of reality and fiction. While appearing otherworldly and futuristic in their presentation, these organisms and bodies have significant research value within the scientific community for their potential to advance our understanding of our species and the world. For example, the tiny freshwater Hydra is studied for its regenerative abilities, while the manipulated image of the cloudless Earth is used to monitor the continued growth of cities around the world. Through both scientific and poetic lenses, Novitskova invites us to reflect on the ways in which we see – and comprehend – the potential of the Earth.

Katja Novitskova (1984) is one of the most internationally visible Estonian artists. She studied semiotics in University of Tartu, new media in University of Lübeck and graphic design in Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam. During 2013—2015 she took part of a residency in Rijksakademie in Amsterdam. Novitskova has had personal exhibitions in several parts of the world – Shanghai, New York, Hamburg, Berlin, London and Seigen. In addition, she has participated in exhibitions in MoMA (2015), as well as the biennials of Lyon (2015) and Berlin (2016). She likewise represented Estonia at the Venice Biennial (2017) and was awarded the President’s Young Cultural Figure award (2017). In 2018, the large-scale personal exhibition Katja Novitskova. If Only You Could See What I’ve Seen with Your Eyes. Stage 2 was held in Kumu Art Museum.

Project team: Aleksandra Volkova, Brigita Reinert, Kaarel Eelma, Mari Kangur

Support for the project Earth Potential was provided by Public Art Fund, Outset Estonia, Andrea Krantz & Harvey Sawikin, the Mondriaan Fund (the public cultural funding organization focusing on visual arts and culture heritage), the Consulate General of the Netherlands in New York, Christen & Derek Wilson, the Estonian Ministry of Culture, and the Consulate General of Estonia in New York.

Support for bringing the exhibition to Estonia and now to Kumu Art Museum was provided by Temnikova & Kasela gallery and BLRT Group.